UK PR Company Helped Bahrain Target Dissidents on Social Media Outlets for $3-Million Annual Contract (US Magazine)
2018-06-20 - 8:26 p
Bahrain Mirror: The American "The New Yorker" magazine published an extensive investigation on a PR British company that used to provide services to Bahraini and other oppressive governments to internationally whitewash their reputation. The investigation revealed that the London-based "Bell Pottinger" company prepared for its Bahraini clients "a list of the most influential dissidents on social media."
An employee involved in this work said that "he does not know the fate of the individuals on the list, but he remains troubled by the fact that Bell Pottinger performed this service at a time when Bahraini officials were imprisoning and torturing people who spoke out against the regime."
The magazine indicated that the Bahrain account was Bell Pottinger's largest, and without it the firm would implode. "The Bahrain account was indeed lost, and the next day Bell Pottinger was declared insolvent," it pointed out.
The Bahrain account brought in three and a half million dollars annually to Bell Pottinger.
The investigation mocked the company describing it as one of the world's savviest reputation-management companies became embroiled in a reputational scandal. The investigation said at the beginning that a P.R. company that worked with dictators and oligarchs deliberately inflamed racial tensions in South Africa-and destroyed itself in the process.
The company was specialized in PR and affairs related to reputation and marketing before it could not contain the uproar, and collapsed in September 2017.
Bell Pottinger has a long history in cooperating with countries to whitewash their reputation. It caused ethnic tension in South of Africa and secretly disseminated articles, cartoons, blog posts, and tweets implying that the family's opponents were upholding a racist system.
Bell Pottinger started working with Bahrain since protests against the royal family erupted in Bahrain in 2011. The magazine noted that the government responded to the protests with a repressive backlash.
The company was advising the Bahrain Economic Development Board, and on occasion its brief extended to advising the Bahraini government more generally.
The American "The New Yorker" magazine said that Bell Pottinger established a company later and sought to bid for a large account in Bahrain.
Despite "Bell Pottinger" attempt to start again after its bankruptcy, it lost many of its clients. Even former allies of the company's CEP (James Henderson) worry that his name will forever be tainted scandals, mainly South Africa scandal. "A P.R. firm that can't manage its own reputation isn't worth much in the marketplace," one said.
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